The discharge of streams is usually measured by the current-meter method. During flood periods, however, it is frequently impossible or impractical to measure the discharges by this method when they occur. Consequently, many peak discharges must be determined after the passage of the flood by indirect methods, such as slope-area, contracted-opening, flow-over-dam, and flow-through-culvert, rather than by direct current-meter measurement.
Indirect methods of determining peak discharge are based on hydraulic equations which relate the discharge to the water-surface profile and the geometry of the channel. A field survey is made after the flood to determine the location and elevation of high-water marks and the characteristics of the channel.
Detailed descriptions of the general procedures used in collecting the field data and in computing the discharge are given in this report. Each of the methods requires special procedures described in subsequent chapters.
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USGS Numbered Series
General field and office procedures for indirect discharge measurements